New Delhi/Washington, April 9: The US Navy has said it conducted "freedom of navigation patrols" inside India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) near Lakshadweep Islands earlier this week. In a strong statement, the US Navy also said it did not request India's consent prior to the operation. While the US often conducts such patrols in South China Sea, similar patrols inside India's EEZ is unusual and has caught geo-political watchers by surprise. US Navy Officer Sings Swades Song ‘Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera’, Indian Envoy Taranjit Singh Sandhu Shares Video.
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This was in contrast with the Indian laws that say prior notification is a must if a foreign nation conducts military activity inside the EEZ. However, the US Navy said: "India requires prior consent for military exercises or maneuvers in its EEZ or continental shelf, a claim inconsistent with international law." "This freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging India’s excessive maritime claims," it added.
"We conduct routine and regular FONOPs, as we have done in the past and will continue to in the future. FONOPs are not about one country, nor are they about making political statements," it also said. There has been no official reaction from India till now.